John Gould

14 September 1804 – 3 February 1881

An English ornithologist and one of the world’s most noted figures in bird illustration

Often referred to as the ‘father of bird study in Australia’, the English ornithologist John Gould created several esteemed collections of bird illustrations over his long career. He was the most prolific artist and publisher of ornithological subjects of all time.

In nineteenth century Europe Gould’s name was as well known as Audubon’s was in North America. But unlike Audubon, whose life’s work focused on one region, Gould traveled widely and employed other artists to help create his lavish hand-colored lithographic folios.

Nearly 3,000 lithographs were created during the span of his long ​career.

Although he was not the artist of the illustrations within his collections, it was Gould’s vision, dedication and supervision that led to the production of so many important works.

During his career he carefully documented birds and habitats in a range of environments from Australia to the Himalayas.

Born in Lyme Regis, West Dorset, Gould followed in his father’s footsteps to become a gardener. He secured a position as foreman in the Royal Gardens of Windsor in 1818.

Following his training at Windsor from 1818 to 1824, Gould later became a gardener at Ripley Castle in Yorkshire. Alongside his garden duties, Gould developed a passion for taxidermy – establishing his own taxidermist business in London.

Perhaps his most notable commission was for the stuffing of a pet giraffe for King George IV in 1826.

In 1827, Gould’s expertise gained him a role at the Zoological Society of London as the museum’s first curator and preserver. This position gave Gould access to several of Europe’s leading naturalists and he was often among the first to see the exotic new collections of birds given to the society.

Following the arrival of a collection of exotic bird skins from the Himalayas in 1830, Gould began the first of his monograph collections.

The book A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains, gained instant popularity and Gould followed this success with collections on the birds of Europe, Asia, Australia and New Guinea. He also created volumes dedicated to toucans, hummingbirds, birds-of-paradise and in a departure from feathered creatures; kangaroos.

Although he did not create the artwork for his collections himself, Gould worked with several established artists including his wife Elizabeth Gould, the poet and illustrator Edward Lear and German artist Joseph Wolf.

A notable point in Gould’s career came when he provided his expertise and guidance to Charles Darwin. In 1837, having returned from his second voyage aboard HMS Beagle, Darwin presented the mammal and bird specimens collected during his trip to the Zoological Society of London.

Gould was given the responsibility of identifying the birds which would later become known as ‘Darwin’s finches’. Gould’s knowledge provided vital information that helped Darwin develop his theory of evolution.

Over his lifetime, Gould created over 40 volumes of work, with over 3,000 colored plates, providing amazing insights into previously undiscovered species. He continued to work up until his death in 1881.

Gould’s lifetime work complised more than 40 volumes, with more than 3,000 colored plates. His many scientific papers, moslty devoted to descriptions of new species, estebalished his professionl reputation, but he is best known today for his folio’s. 

Gould’s publications: we have available:

  • A Century of Birds fromt the Himalaya Mountains (1830-1833).
    1 Volume, 80 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.
  • The Birds of Australia and the Adjacent Islands (1837-1838).
    1 Volume, 20 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals. 
  • The Birds of Australia (1840-1848).
    7 Volumes, 600 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals. 
  • A Monograph of the Macropodidae, or Family of Kangaroos (1841-1842).
    1 Volume, 30 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.
  • A Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Hummingbirds (1849-1861).
    5 Volumes, 360 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.
  • The Birds of Asia (1849-1883).
    7 Volumes, 530 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.
  • Supplement to The Birds of Australia (1851-1869).
    1 Volume, 81 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.
  • A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans (2nd edition) (1852-1854).
    1 Volume, 53 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.
  • Supplement to the first edition of ‘A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans’ (1855).
    1 Volume, 20 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.
  • The Birds of Great Britain (1862-1873).
    5 Volumes, 367 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.
  • The Birds of New Guinea, and the Adjacent Papuan Islands (1875-1888).
    5 Volumes, 320 giclee prints afther the hand-colored originals.
  • Supplement to the ‘Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Hummingbirds’ (1880-1887).
    1 Volume, 58 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.


Master Copy

Heritage Prints has a master copy of many images. But we do not have every certified facsimile giclee print in stock.

If you cannot find a specific work on our website, please contact us directly and we will start the rigorous process of printing your individual facsimile.

John Gould - View Prints below

Heritage Prints has a master copy of many images. But we do not have every certified facsimile giclee print in stock. 

If you cannot find a specific work on our website, please contact us directly and we will start the rigorous process of printing your individual facsimile.